Cold weather helps fuel La Crosse County’s highest COVID-19 case rates of the year

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — La Crosse County’s current COVID-19 case rate is the highest this year, a fact that doesn’t surprise medical experts.

“When we look back to this summer and we think about the fact that we started to see this highly infectious delta variant, we knew that when colder temperatures came, we knew people would be congregating in smaller vicinities,” said Megan Buechel, an infectious disease preventionist at Gundersen Health System.

COVID-19 can spread more easily when people spend more time inside, Buechel said.

“Human behavior has a huge impact on how diseases spread. We have the opportunity to prevent them or sometimes our actions allow for more disease spread,” said Buechel.

The cold weather will be around for a while, and Buechel says it’s going to take a community effort to help lower COVID-19 rates.

“As long as people know the right practices to mitigate COVID-19 transmission, they can put those in practice. So it’s really just a matter of getting back to the basics of COVID-19 mitigation,” said Buechel.

The cold weather also brings other challenges, such as telling the difference between winter sniffles and COVID-19.

“If I have symptoms and I think well maybe it’s just allergies and I go to work or go to events, then I pass that disease on to other people. That’s that secondary transmission,” said Paula Silha, public information officer for the La Crosse County Health Department.

The rise in cases is occurring statewide, she said.

“My health director participates on daily calls with other health directors from other local health agencies, and they as well are experiencing high case rates,” Silha said.

Recent News Headlines from News 8 Now  
LADCO celebrates business, projects in region during annual luncheon in Onalaska
UPDATE: Jury finds Shavonte Thompson guilty of homicide 
Barre Mills child-care center announces abrupt closing because of staff shortage 
Holiday Open House set for downtown La Crosse Friday